After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of locations appearing in your future:

  • Anacapa Seafood raw bar, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Beach Bowls, 901 Linden Ave., Carpinteria
  • Belcampo Meat Co., 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Benchmark Eatery, 1201 State St. (formerly Maggie’s, opening May)
  • C’est Cheese Café & Marketplace, 831 Santa Barbara St. (formerly Our Daily Bread)
  • Crazy Good Bread, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, Santa Barbara
  • Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Enjoy Cupcakes, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Flagstone Pantry, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Full of Life Flatbread, near 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Green Star Coffee, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Himalaya Kitchen, 431 State St. (currently All India Café)
  • Italian Grocery & Deli, 210 W. Carrillo St. (formerly Carrow’s)
  • Jersey Mike’s, 1213 State St. (formerly Quizno’s Subs)
  • Juice Well, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • La Ancla Taqueria, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Lovin’ Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Café, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista (formerly Cafe Int’l)
  • Lure Fish House, Upper State St.
  • Mesa Verde (vegan), 1919 Cliff Dr. (formerly Cliff’s & Co.)
  • Papa John’s Pizza, 5756 Calle Real, Goleta
  • Pasta Shoppe, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Patxi’s Pizza, 515 State St. (formerly Territory Ahead)
  • Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Santa Monica Seafood, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Silvergreens, Goleta
  • Starbucks, 101 Milpas St.
  • Sublime, 901 N. Milpas St.
  • Taco Bell, Hollister Ave. at Pacific Oaks Rd., Goleta
  • Tri Tip Company, 214 State St.
  • Villa Pizza, 618 Anacapa St.
  • Unnamed cheese and charcuterie shop, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • Unnamed brewhouse/restaurant,5065 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria


Reader Carla let me know that the folks at Edhat are discussing the recent sighting of cleanup crews at the former home of Elephant Bar. One commenter says “I heard from some of the folks working on the site that Red Lobster plans to take over that location as they are somehow connected to the former Elephant Bar franchise.” There is no official word about what business will take over the spot.



Reader DeeDee let me know that Starbucks plans to turn some of its cafes into a destination for beer and wine in the evenings. The coffee company says it is looking to expand alcohol sales to thousands of select stores over the next several years. I don’t know if their future plans include the South Coast.

Starbucks first offered beer and wine after 4 p.m. at one of its Seattle cafes in 2010. “Starbucks Evenings” is now available in 26 cafes, with plans to reach 40 by the end of the year. The cafes also serve a variety of small dishes ranging in price from $3 to $5, such as bacon-wrapped dates, truffle macaroni and cheese, and flatbreads.



Tara Hamilton, organic farmer and owner of Organic Fresno launched a murder mystery Dinner Theater on February 14. It is performed at the Veterans Memorial Building, 112 West Cabrillo Boulevard Dinner. Show and drinks are $49 or $65 per person and it runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 pm on Fridays. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and meat options are available. 3 drink tickets for wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks, like fresh pressed juice, are included. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 366-3099.

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If you can help reader Missazn please leave a message in the blog.


I was wondering if you, or any one of your followers, know of a bakery in town that sells cronuts.




A rumor circulating around town, that periodically whizzes past my window up here in the Santa Barbara Food News Control Tower, suggests that the White family, owners of Boathouse, Casa Blanca, FisHouse, and Santa Barbara Shellfish Co. are considering opening a restaurant at the Big Yellow House in Summerland. I contacted owner Tom White and asked if there was any truth to the story and he quickly put the matter to rest:

Hi John,

None, none at all.  The realtor keeps calling me about it, but I don’t know why.  It’s probably the last thing we would ever consider, and we’re not considering anything at the moment.  Except looking forward to the opening of Salmon season!  Best to ya!


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The Santa Barbara Public Market, part of the Alma del Pueblo mixed-use building that will house both condos and merchants, is expected to open in April at the intersection of Victoria and Chapala, in the location formerly occupied by Vons.

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If you can help reader Robert please leave a message in the blog.

Hi John,

Can you recommend any restaurants in town that serve no-salt/low-salt dishes?




Reader Paul let me know that Papa John’s Pizza is coming to 5756 Calle Real in Goleta. The address is immediately next door to Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar. A new sign on the door reads: “Coming Soon Papa John’s Pizza – We are now hiring for: shift leaders, drivers, front desk. Please call 310-254-4146 for an appointment or email your resume to”  Papa John’s owns or franchises approximately 4,200 restaurants in all 50 states and 35 countries. For more information visit




Chef Michael Hutchings, from Michael’s Catering, and chef James Sly, owner of Sly’s restaurant in Carpinteria, cooked for Vice President Joe Biden tonight. Actor Charlie Sheen and girlfriend were spotted at Roy restaurant last night.



The legendary Bennett family, owners of Brophy Bros. restaurant and On The Alley at the Santa Barbara harbor, are in escrow to buy Farmer Boy restaurant, an icon in San Roque since 1958, at 3427 State Street. I’m told escrow closes in April.

In the last year the Bennetts set sail from the harbor (before it needed dredging) to a variety of destinations around town. Last November they were involved with the purchase of the Cliff Room bar at 1828 Cliff Drive on the Mesa. Last January they took over 1201 State Street, the former home of Maggie’s and State and A. The same month they partnered with the purchase of Arch Rock Fish restaurant at 608 Anacapa Street.




If you can help reader Catherine please leave a message in the blog. One would think that The Restaurant Guy should know this, but I actually don’t have a clue. My guess for the entire South Coast is “20,000″ and “Monday.”

Hey Restaurant Guy,

I am interested in some local dining statistics, specifically:

1) How many people dine out each day in Santa Barbara?

2) What is the slowest day of the week for restaurants?




Here is a list of local restaurants that have closed in the last year:

  • March 2014: Betos Subs, 731 De La Guerra Plaza; The French Table, 129 E. Anapamu St. (now Piano Gastrolounge); Sunnyside Market & Deli, 436 E. Gutierrez St.
  • January 2014: Museum Cafe 1130 State St.; Rusty’s Pizza,15 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (moving to 111 State St.); The Pan, 18 E. Cota St.; Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 511 State St. (now Barbarian’s Pizza); YoYumYum, 5915A Calle Real, Goleta
  • December 2013: Culture Shock (mobile); Verde, 532 State St. (now Apéro)
  • November 2013: Altamirano’s, 422 N. Milpas St.; Las Palmeras, 432 E. Haley St.; Rudy’s, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta (now Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar)
  • October 2013: Cafe Int’L, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista; Good Karma Market & Deli, 207 W. Anapamu St. (now Red Sands Market and Deli); Javan’s, 938 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista; Maggies, 1201 State St.; Takenoya, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta
  • September 2013: Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, 119 State St. (now Blue Tavern); Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, 305 Paseo Nuevo; Greek House Café, 5 W. Haley St. (now Magic Pita Café); Italia Pizza & Pasta, 149 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Pacific Coast Café, 6440 Via Real, Carpinteria; Quizno’s, 1213 State St.; Sakura Express, 819C State St. (now Sushi Tyme); Spice Avenue, 1027 State St. (now Tamira)
  • August 2013: Elephant Bar & Restaurant, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta; Hidden Dolphin Café, 217 Anacapa St. (now Mony’s); Pastavino, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (now Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack)
  • July 2013: Cinco Estrellas, 316 N. Milpas St.; Mediterra Cafe & Market, 5575 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • June 2013: New China, 5764 Hollister Ave., Goleta (now Tapatia #3)
  • May 2013: none
  • April 2013: Coast Restaurant & Bar, 31 W. Carrillo St. (now Finch & Fork); Pasta House, 6546 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (now Blaze Pizza)
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Reader Bailey let me know that Sunnyside Market & Deli at 436 E. Gutierrez Street has closed. They opened for business in December 2010. Here is a message posted on their web site:

To Our Loyal Customers,

We would like to thank you for your support over the last three years. We have been honored to serve you and we are truly grateful for your business. We have decided that after three years of business we will be closing Sunnyside Deli permanently as of Monday, March 3rd.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you all around the neighborhood.

Sunnyside Deli

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Before you had a chance to Snap Chat with your friends about Betos Subs, which had a grand opening on March 6th at 731 De la Guerra Plaza, the restaurant went out of business 9 days later, setting a new local record. Previous winners of our “Flash in the Pan” award for shortest longevity include Little Cantina (1 month at 14 E. Cota Street) and Snack Shack (2 months at 801 State Street).



Safeway, Vons and Albertsons are merging in a $9.4 billion dollar deal.



patxiReader David let me know that Patxi’s Pizza, specializing in a deep dish style, is coming to 515 State Street, formerly a “The Territory Ahead” retail store.

Add to that Barbarians Pizza (511 State Street) and Uncle Rocco’s N.Y. Pizza (427 State Street), and you have 3 pizza options within a block’s walk on the same side of the street.

Patxi’s (pronounced “Pah-Cheese”) began in the summer of 2004 in Palo Alto when a pizza lover and entrepreneur Bill Freeman, partnered with friend and expert pizza maker, Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz.

“My first job was as a dishwasher at a pizza place called Zachary’s in San Francisco,” recalls Azpiroz. “I worked my way up from dishwasher all the way through to a senior manager and learned just about everything there was to know about pizza including deep-dish.”

The pair have since added locations in the Bay Area, Seattle and Denver, and now have Santa Barbara in their sights. For more information visit



Olio Crudo Bar has opened at 11 W. Victoria St., Ste. 18. The eatery is brought to you by Olio e Limone Ristorante, located next door. It is the latest addition to the Olio group (which also includes Olio Pizzeria, and locations opening in Westlake Village Summer 2014), offering crudo (raw) Italian seafood and meats, as well as cotto (cooked) bar menu items. The eatery is open daily starting at 5 p.m.

“The menu is highly ingredient-driven, showcasing the freshest seasonal products,” says owner Elaine Morello. “Olio Crudo Bar is inspired by the crudo you’ll find in all towns – both large and small – along the coast of Italy. Sicily and Sardegna are particularly known for their style of crudo, which relies on the traditional Italian method of preparing crudo: dressing the thinly-sliced fish with a little sea salt, and often Olio e Limone.”

Morello tells me that that the most popular dishes so far are: Tonno Rosso (Atlantic Bluefin tuna belly /  ginger vinaigrette / wasabi shoots); Ala Lunga (sliced Atlantic Bluefin tuna / sous-vide baby artichoke / crispy pearl onion rings / jalapeno-scented vinaigrette; Polipo (Mediterranean octopus / sliced new potatoes / frisée lettuce / spicy Controne pepper); and Maiale (pressed Kurobuta pork belly / shaved Brussels sprouts / Fuji apple chutney).

For more information call 899-2699 or visit

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Last November The French Table at 129 E Anapamu Street was sold. Last week the new owners closed The French Table and, in its place, opened the Mediterranean restaurant Piano Gastrolounge, with a whole new menu. For more information call 882-0050. Thanks to reader Brendan for the tip.

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If you can help reader Matt please leave a message in the blog.


My name is Matt and I’m doing some research for my boss regarding previous restaurants at our address.  I’m aware of a few including Calypso and Banana Reef at 514 state.  You wouldn’t happen to know about any other restaurants or businesses at 514 state st.?  I wanted to put together a “fun facts” about Sandbar and you were the first person I thought of that might know about this.  Please let me know if you can help me in any way.

Thank you for your time and I love reading your column each week.

Thanks John

*Matt Jory***
Sandbar Cocina y Tequila



This message and photo just in from reader Cris:

Hi John,

A few weeks ago I has said Chicken Ranch [163 N. Fairview Avenue, Goleta] was moving next door. They now have opened with a more spacious layout.



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The Web turns 25 today, being born on March 12, 1989. Thank you Tim Berners-Lee for your great idea. I remember first using the web in 1993, which was about 5 years before Google was born.  In 1994 I had lunch with Marc Andreessen during the (now long gone) Comdex convention in Las Vegas and he showed me his new browser, yet to be released, called “Netscape,” which was to be the next generation of his hugely popular “Mosaic” browser. (Mosaic/Netscape eventually became Firefox). I told him about an Environment Directory that I was creating and he decided to build a link to it right inside Netscape, and kept it there for several years. I was able to leverage the immense amount of traffic from Netscape to help fund and launch all the online businesses I run today, including this web site.



The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has announced the inaugural Santa Barbara Fork & Cork Classic taking place Sunday, June 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Montecito Country Club, 920 Summit Road in Montecito.

“We look forward to hosting the first annual Santa Barbara Fork & Cork Classic and invite the entire community to participate,” said Erik Talkin, CEO, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “Many in our community rely on the nutritious food distributed by Foodbank. By taking part in this event, you are helping to support the over 300 local nonprofit partners Foodbank works with annually to supply healthy produce and staples.”

The event will honor: Chef Michael Blackwell of Montecito Country Club; Leslie Mead Renaud, Director of Winemaking at Foley Estate, Lincourt and Two Sisters; and Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker at Riverbench for their leadership in the local food and wine industries.

Pre-sale general admission tickets are $65 or $75 at the door. Pre-sale VIP tickets are $95 or $125 at the door. VIP tickets include admission to the event, a fun-filled swag bag and additional perks. To purchase tickets, learn about volunteer opportunities or to see the latest list of restaurant and winery event partners, visit

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I just received this press-release from Silvergreens restaurant:

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – March 11, 2014 – Silvergreens’ new Proteins Greens & Grains menu makes it simple for Santa Barbara diners to enjoy a balanced meal that is packed with bold flavors and nutrients The new menu features five proteins, five greens and five grains that diners can mix and match to create a well-balanced meal that does not sacrifice taste. Available during dinner, the Proteins Greens & Grains menu launches this week at Silvergreens downtown location. It supplements Silvergreens’ current dinner menu, bringing diners even more ways to EAT REAL FOOD.

“Eating a balanced meal should not be boring or bland,” said Jay Ferro, owner of Silvergreens. “Our Proteins Greens & Grains menu is a fun new way to eat dinner. It’s designed to bring variety to our guests while making it easy and affordable to eat a healthy meal that combines taste and nutrition. There are over 125 different meal combinations our guests can create from this menu alone.”

Silvergreens’ Proteins Greens & Grains menu promotes a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables and lean protein, which help people stay healthy. The new menu evolves with each season to bring the freshest, naturally healthy ingredients from local farmers to the table. The menu for the upcoming spring season features flavors at their peak including local kale, brussel sprouts, edamame, cauliflower

“Taste typically tops nutrition as the main reason why people choose one food over another. At Silvergreens, we believe you can and should get both,” said Ferro. “We want to keep our food fresh, healthy and interesting for our diners so they can make better choices without skimping on flavor.” Along with the new menu items, Silvergreens is now serving up a selection of wines from local vineyards and craft beers from local microbrewery Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Silvergreens new menu features four draft beers from Figueroa, which is known up and down the Central Coast for its straightforward, flavorful American-style beers. The menu also adds new desserts made with handcrafted McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, a legendary Central Coast ice cream brand.

The Chef’s recommended pairing from this season’s Proteins Greens & Grains menu is Pan Seared Mahi Mahi (protein), Chile Roasted Local Cauliflower (green) and Edamame Sesame Quinoa (grain) with a pint of the Figueroa Hoppy Poppy IPA, followed by the Warm Cookie Sundae. Meals on Silvergreens’ Proteins Greens & Grains menu range from $11 to $14. All desserts are only $3 each and are available all day. Additionally, Silvergreens is offering a “Dinner for Two” special that includes choice of appetizer and two Protein Greens & Grains meals for $25.

The Proteins Greens & Grains concept was first implemented in Silvergreens’ catering program. Local companies have selected the menu to regularly provide employees with healthy meal options as part of broader corporate wellness programs. Success of the catering menu spurred Silvergreens to bring the concept into the downtown restaurant.

Diners can view the full menu online.

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Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches has opened at 909 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista. The eatery has 1600 locations across 40 states and has opened 200 new locations per year over the last 3 years. I spoke with the manager who told me that they specialize in ultra-fast delivery. When your sandwich is made (usually takes 3 minutes) they will deliver it to your door within 5 minutes. Consequently delivery is limited to addresses within a 5-minute radius of the restaurant, which isn’t a problem for the densely-populated Isla Vista. For more information visit



Blaze Pizza has opened at 6546 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. Blaze Pizza uses an interactive assembly line format that allows guests to create their own custom-built artisanal pizzas at high speed – for around $7.00.  Each pizza starts with a 11-inch crust that is pressed fresh from a dough ball. Then guests travel down the assembly line to “co-create” a signature pizza or design one of their own — choosing from a wide variety of house-made sauces and 40 fresh toppings. To finish, each guest’s custom-built pizza is fast-fired in an oven and ready in three minutes.

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While restaurant hunting in Isla Vista over the weekend I discovered that “Wok on the Wild Side” opened at the end of January at 901 Embarcadero del Mar. Isla Vista’s only Chinese restaurant features Sichuan-style food. For more information call (805) 259-1415.

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Presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau since 1993, Taste of Solvang features locally grown foods, wines and diverse cuisine to celebrate the cultural and culinary heritage of the area. The 2014 Taste of Solvang runs from Wednesday, March 12 through Sunday, March 16. Details and reservations are available at Events include:

  • Chef Walk – Chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante will make his way through Solvang’s Farmer’s Market offering up tips and a personalized tour as he purchases farm-fresh ingredients for his demo menu. The cooking demonstration will be held after at Cecco Ristorante. Wednesday, March 12, 3 p.m., First Street and Copenhagen Drive, RSVP
  • Sweets and Swing – Dessert is taken very seriously in Solvang; with a Village full of chocolatiers, and bakers it is hard not to. The popular Dessert Reception is back with a new name, “Sweets & Swing,” with over 20 different confections. Friday, March 14, 7 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., 1745 Mission Drive, $25
  • Grand Tasting – Over 40 restaurants will be on hand sampling the best of the area for your culinary enjoyment. Saturday, March 15, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., $35
  • Beer and Wine Walk – Get to know Solvang wineries, breweries, and wine bars that specialize in locally made boutique wines and craft beer. Saturday March 15, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday, March 16, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., $40
  • Farm to Fork Dinner – Spend an evening dining family-style in the Barrel Room of the Buttonwood Winery, as Chef Budi Kazali takes you through a four course wine-paired dinner utilizing ingredients sourced only from Solvang’s local producers. Saturday, March 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., $120
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Word on the street is that the owners of The Lark restaurant at 131 Anacapa Street are considering purchasing Bay Roadhouse Bar & Grill at 202 State Street and transforming it to a wine garden concept. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.



Here is a list of local restaurants that have opened in the last year:

  • March 2014: Firehouse Subs, 6530 Seville Rd., Isla Vista
  • February 2014: The Lovin’ Spoonful, 2028 Cliff Dr.
  • January 2014: Barbarians Pizza, 511 State St.
  • December 2013: Buddha Bowls, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Lilly’s Taqueria, 290 Storke Rd., Goleta
  • November 2013: Blue Tavern, 119 State St.; Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn, 3539 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez; Fresh Market, 222 N. Milpas St.; Magic Pita Cafe, 5 W. Haley St.; Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta; Red Sands Market and Deli, 207 W. Anapamu St.
  • October 2013: Daily Grind, 2912 De la Vina St.; Tamira, 1027 State St.
  • September 2013: Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Sushi Tyme, 819C State St.
  • August 2013: Lark, 131 Anacapa St.; McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, 728 State St.; Miso Hungry, 3891 State St; Mony’s Mexican Restaurant, 217 Anacapa St.; Lucky Penny, 137 Anacapa St.; Verde, 532 State St.
  • July 2013: Book Ends Cafe, 602 Anacapa St.; Killer Shrimp, 416 State St.; Little Caesars, 109 S. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Mattei’s Tavern, 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos; Sorriso Italiano, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista
  • June 2013: Los Agaves, 2911 De la Vina St.; Tapatia #3, 5764 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • May 2013: American Ale, 14 East Cota St.; Little Caesars, 1048 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria; Panera Bread, 700 State St.
  • April 2013: Brasil Arts Cafe, 1230C State St.; Finch and Fork, 31 W Carrillo St.; Open, 4141 State St.; SY Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez; Toma Restaurant and Bar, 324 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
  • March 2013: El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Pl.; Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck,; Hoffmann Brat Haus, 801 State St.; Sama Sama Kitchen, 1208 State St.; Seven Bar & Kitchen, 224 Helena St.; Yogurtland, 5880 Calle Real, Goleta